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Monday, November 5, 2001

E-lance your way to E-arning
Rahul Chaba

OF all the technological developments that have taken place in the last century, the Internet is the one that has had the most profound impact globally. The geographical boundaries and distances, which used to act as barriers in the way of free exchange of data and information, have been rendered irrelevant.

As a natural corollary, the Internet has also affected the way one earns and WWW has opened up new avenues and opportunities, by which a person, with the right skill-set and drive, can earn from the comforts of one’s home. Freelancing via the Internet, which one may also call telecommuting, is increasingly becoming a mainstream career alternative for professionals in the West. With the spread of the Internet usage in India, this phenomenon is gaining popularity.

Log on to the Internet, go to any search engine, type in the keyword "Freelancing" and you will find on your computer screen links to hundreds of Websites where one can visit, get oneself registered, post resume and see the freelance projects that are available. One can submit proposals online in response to the projects that are posted. But there’s a flip side to it. Quite a few of these ask for some fee for getting registered with them, after which one can view the projects that are available and then submit a proposal. Alternatively, one can also go to the job sites and search through the available openings to find the ones pertaining to freelancing. The advantage here is that one can directly correspond with the advertiser without having to pay any initial fee. Another way to look for freelance assignments is to cold call potential companies that you think may require your services by sending your e-resume with a covering letter. Covering letter that goes with your resume is equally important, if not more, since this is what a prospective service-seeker sees before seeing the resume.


20 Websites on freelancing





















Your strengths should be properly showcased here. Brief mention of related assignments done in the past should be made in the letter and details be given in resume. If practically feasible, samples of such work should also form a part of the enclosures.

Many people grab freelance assignments because someone has referred them to the service-seeker. Exploiting the contacts that one has is another means by which one can romp in freelance work. Once in the freelancing arena, there is no dearth of more assignments provided one gives exceptional work efficiently. Word of mouth spreads fast in this networked world.

Before one starts looking for freelancing opportunities on the Web, it is of paramount importance for an individual to do a realistic and unbiased assessment of what one is capable of doing. This covers evaluation of one’s skill-set and whether one will be able to spare quality time at home for doing the assignments.

Apart from this, one would need to have a PC at home with requisite software, a modem, Internet access, a printer and other paraphernalia that are required to do the work productively and efficiently. Here the idea is not to talk about the ownership of these gadgets, as a prerequisite – easy accessibility of these is what has been stressed upon.

On the first look, freelancing might appear to be an enticing career option where one can work at will. But it also needs to be clearly understood that one gets paid for the work one gives. Unlike a regular job where one gets a pay cheque every month, a freelancer is paid on the basis of completed assignments. And assignments may not always be forthcoming.

In addition, most of us are attuned to work in offices. One comes back home after a tough day at office to relax. When one is working already from home, where does then one go to unwind? Also, at home, there are other deviations that may prevent one from concentrating when one needs to concentrate, sparing time for freelance work when it is required. Deviations like these can be overcome provided one has ample desire and drive for this.

Freelancing is an exciting part-time career option and one learns and earns more as one works.